Saturday 10 December 2016

Here's how your business blog can grab an audience

Ian Dodson

Published 22/04/2015 | 08:51

Google releases regular algorithm updates that help businesses understand the best practices for ranking higher in search results.

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With every new release announced the message from Google is unmistakable: businesses must produce high quality content to ensure they get found online. Most business’ primary content channel is a blog. Below, I’ll explain how to set up your own business blog and create engaging content that speaks to your audience’s needs and desires.

1. Why Google Loves Fresh Content:

Blogging is one of the best ways to help your website get found in search. That’s because Google loves to get fed fresh content that helps its search engine decipher what your website is about. Google ranks web pages based on how useful the page appears to be for users - that is how relevant it is, how informative it is and to what degree it answers your customers’ questions. According to Google’s Quality Guidelines, the creation of regular, quality, in-depth and relevant content will get rewarded richly in search results.

2. Define Your Target Audience:

The purpose of every blog should be to add value to your customers’ lives. First you will need to define your target audience. You can do this by creating a series of key personas that define your most important customer types.

Describe your personas’ demographics, the problems they want solved, what they need from your company and the terms they are likely to search for. HubSpot’s Persona tool provides a handy (and free) template, containing a set of ready-made questions and a selection of pictures to choose from.

3. Establish Your Unique Selling Point:

You will also need to establish your unique selling point. Again you must think in terms of adding value to your audience and catering to their wants and needs. Ask yourself what kind of content you can offer your customers that your competitors can’t.

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box - just because you sell shoes, for example, doesn’t mean that your business should be limited to just writing about shoes. Instead you could broaden your reach and write about fashion or even lifestyle as a whole. Decide if you want your content to educate, to inspire or to entertain. From the outset, define its purpose.  

4. Get Started: Set Up Your Blog

Now that you know why you’re creating your blog, who it’s for and the type of content you plan to write, it’s time to set up your blog. WordPress is one of the most popular blog platforms available and it allows you to integrate your WordPress blog with your existing website seamlessly. The WordPress.org site has a whole host of free and premium themes and templates for businesses to choose from.

Select your topics carefully and ensure they reflect the needs of your target audience. To enhance your SEO even further, you can download the SEO Yoast plugin, which highlights the key meta descriptions you need to fill in and provides a preview of how they will appear in search engines. 

5. Tips for Creating Contagious Content:

To create compelling content, your business learn and master the following tips:

  • Your content must provide value for your target audience. 
  • Tell a story, don’t sell a product. 
  • Identify your customers’ needs and then set about solving them with your content.
  • Step away from boring, corporate speak and inject passion into your words.
  • Develop your own unique and authentic voice that resonates with readers.

Stay tuned for next week’s article where I’ll reveal my top tips for building a powerful email marketing database that can easily be targeted and segmented.

Ian Dodson

Ian Dodson is Director and Co-Founder of the Digital Marketing Institute. He has been at the forefront of the Irish digital industry for the past 10 years and has been instrumental in the setup and success of a number of groundbreaking online businesses. Ian writes for various well-known digital and marketing journals on all topics digital.

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